Sci-Fi Valley Con is in it's 5th year and has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short time. I've seen it take most cons twice, sometimes three times, as long to get this big. One thing is for sure, founder Casey Bassett is definitely doing something right! For starters, the advertising is a genius marketing strategy and probably accounts for a large percentage of popularity. You would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of this amazing event, especially if you live in Central Pennsylvania.
The convention has grown so quickly that it had to be moved a few times to find a space to accommodate all there is to see and do. This is the second year the convention was held at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA and was the first year that the convention spans not one, but two floors. Tables sold out rather quickly and even with two floors of vendors and artist, as well as celebrity guests, they managed to find a little more more by adding some tables to hallway for vendors. Even at that, they had to make a waiting list for interested vendors and artists in the event that someone dropped out of their spot. I have read(and heard) that a lot of vendors and artists do so well that they are ready to reserve their spot for the next year before the weekend is even over.
The entire convention is so family friendly and there are tons of activities for every interest. Panels, gaming, a charity auction, trivia, a costume contest, and a ton of amazing food options. There's even a family friendly after party located at the bowling alley.
I didn't get many pictures at the con, but that's okay because the reason for the lack of pictures was that I was just having a ton of fun. Sci-Fi Valley Con shattered their previous attendance records with a whopping 6,000 attendees at this weekend's show. Not only were the attendees having a good time and impressed with the growth, but many vendors and artists we spoke to held this weekend's show, and the con as a whole, as one of the best conventions they ever had the pleasure of being apart of.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have convention staff who are friendly and helpful and Sci-Fi Valley Con nailed that. Rooms and areas were labeled well, with the exception of the VIP autograph area where no one knew the line for John Rhys-Davies actually started back farther than it appeared and out one of the side doors. The only solution I could see for this would be to have his table closer to that door and the line outside in the hallway, or just a sign pointing to where the line started, however, the great thing is that there were staff members there to point attendees in the right direction. That was extremely helpful and rare with a lot of the conventions we usually attend including the larger scale ones.
|Brian O'Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti, and Scott Schiaffo of the movie Clerks. Three of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet!|
I finally got to meet a few people I have been Facebook friends with for quite a while as well as meet new people I hadn't previously known. I've also become pretty recognizable from my blog and found out at this con and the last one we attended that I have a ton of fans and a whole new Mom Next Door army. It's been nice to hear how big my army has grown through the last few months. Especially since my weekend didn't start out so well. Sci-Fi Valley Con was exactly what I needed.
Conventions are an amazing way to bring people together with similar interests. It's a great way to meet new friends and make lifelong connections. Heck, Sci-Fi Valley Con is actually where I met my very good friend Josh Emerick. I was lucky enough to get a few years with Josh before he passed away, but I am very thankful for Sci-Fi Valley Con for allowing me to have the opportunity to meet and know such a wonderful person. I've met so many people and consider them all lifelong friends. Conventions allow you to be yourself without judgment and ridicule. In normal society, I've been called a freak for dressing in costumes. At a convention, you are surrounded by others who love to dress up as their favorite characters and talk for hours about Doctor Who or Firefly as much as you do.
One thing I will say about Sci-Fi Valley Con and the newest 3 Rivers Comic Con is that they were started with the intention of bringing people together. The founders didn't start these conventions with the purpose and intention to raise a cash cow. They were started as an annual event for people to bring their family to and have fun. I think this is a huge reason why both conventions have flourished in such a small amount of time.
We've went from comic book conventions to a sci-fi convention, and next up in August we are off to a horror convention in Cherry Hill, NJ. Stay tuned for my coverage of the 34th Monster Mania Con! And I have to say, as a huge classic horror slasher fan, I'm more than stoked to finally meet Freddy Krueger himself, Mr. Robert Englund! I'm even dressing as a Female Freddy to celebrate the occasion!